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Depression, which may represent either a temporary mental state, or a chronic mental disorder, is characterized by feelings of sadness, loneliness, despair, low self-esteem, guilt and withdrawal from social contact.
Depression will affect one third of adults in the United States sometime during their lives. At any given time, 5% of adults are depressed, with women being three times likely as men to suffer depression. Although the median age of onset of depression is 25 years, the initial episode can occur at any age.
Most persons who experience depressive symptoms have a minor depression. Fortunately, almost all sufferers recover completely from a single episode of depression. Major depression is a recurrent disorder, and the risk of further episodes increases with each subsequent episode. Depression is a significant risk factor for suicide among men and women, young and old.
Depression is thought to be due to a deficiency in one or more of three chemicals (neurotransmittors) in the brain called monoamines: serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.
Most cases of depression are best treated with a combination of medication and psychological counseling or psychotherapy. Pharmacological approaches attempt to correct the chemical imbalance that is causing the depression. Treatment usually consists of medications and psychotherapy. Severe cases may warrant electroconvulsive therapy.
Get the Facts... With your MediFocus Guide
The Medifocus Guide on Depression provides answers to the following important questions and medical issues:
- What are the most common symptoms of depression?
- Are there any recognized risk factors for developing depression?
- What kinds of medical tests are used to establish the diagnosis of depression?
- What is the current standard of care for the treatment of depression?
- What treatment options are available for the management of depression?
- Are there any promising new developments or potential breakthroughs in treatment?
- Who are the most notable medical authorities who specialize in depression?
- Where are the leading hospitals and centers of research for depression?
- What are the most important questions to ask my doctor about depression?
What Your Doctor Reads:
This MediFocus Guide contains an extensive listing of citations and abstracts of recent journal articles that have been published about this condition in trustworthy medical journals. This is the same type of information that is available to physicians and other health care professionals. A partial selection of journal articles that are abstracted in this MediFocus Guide includes:
- The mutually reinforcing triad of depressive symptoms, cardiovascular disease, and erectile dysfunction.
American Journal of Cardiology. 2000
- Commentary: assessment of clinical depression in patients who request physician-assisted death.
Journal of Pain & Symptom Management. 2000
- Nutrition and depression: focus on folate.
- Adult brain neurogenesis and psychiatry: a novel theory of depression.
Molecular Psychiatry. 2000
- Dysthymia: a review of pharmacological and behavioral factors.
Molecular Psychiatry. 2000
- The role of depression severity in the cognitive functioning of elderly subjects with central nervous system disease.
Journal of Psychiatry & Neuroscience. 2000
- Is depression a risk factor for dementia or cognitive decline? A review.
- The effects of nicotine on neural pathways implicated in depression: a factor in nicotine addiction?.
Pharmacology, Biochemistry & Behavior. 2000
- Dieting, essential fatty acid intake, and depression.
Nutrition Reviews. 2000
- Cancer-related depression: Part I--Neurologic alterations and cognitive-behavioral therapy.
Oncology Nursing Forum. 2000
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